LPA Refund Scheme Failing 800,000 People
The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) announced that anyone overcharged for lasting power of attorney fees between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2017 are entitled to a partial refund.
The original estimates predicted that around £89 million would be recoverable for any customer that was overcharged during these dates.
According to the MoJ, the process to register for enduring powers of attorney became more efficient during this period and as a result, operating costs for the Office of the Public Guardian came down. However, the fee charged for the application did not reduce in line with this. The fee was subsequently lowered by the MoJ, a change which came into effect 1 April 2017.
In September, Today’s Wills and Probate obtained exclusive figures from a Freedom of Information request six months after the refund scheme was launched.
As of 28th August 2018, the Office of the Public Guardian had handled 158,212 official refund requests.
The total amount that had been paid to those overcharged was in excess of £10 million.
The Office of the Public Guardian have said: “We estimate that approximately one million people will be eligible for a refund. As at 28 August, 158,212 valid refunds have been dealt with.”
As we approach the end of the calendar year, another request has been made to assess how effective the Office of Public Guardian have been in tracking down those eligible for a refund. However, the current figures suggest that only a fraction of the remaining 800,000 people have been given a refund.
Currently, 203,000 people have applied for their refunds, claiming back around £10.3 million in the process.
Helen Morrissey, of Royal London, said: “The refund option has been available for some time now and, as yet, only a small proportion of people have submitted a claim.
“The onus really is on the Government to sort it out. It should be contacting people who have not yet claimed to make sure they get their money back.”
Whilst each individual refund value ranges from £37 to £108 may deter many people who feel the hassle in applying equates to more than the refund itself, the Government should actively ensure it does everything possible to hand back what is owed to the public.
Are you aware of people that are owed money through this scheme? Is enough being done to return the money? What should be done here?